|From left, H. Dale Hall, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife artist Joe Hautman of Plymouth, Minn., and Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne. Hautman holds his depiction of a pair of pintail ducks, which won the 2007 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest - the oldest and most prestigious wildlife art competition in America.|
SANIBEL ISLAND, Florida-- Wildlife artist Joe Hautman of Plymouth, Minn., today won the 2007 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest "the oldest and most prestigious wildlife art competition in America" with his depiction of a pair of pintail ducks. Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced the winner at the contest, held at BIG Arts in Sanibel, Fla.
"It was a privilege for me to congratulate Joe Hautman when the judges chose his art to grace the 75th Duck Stamp,"said Secretary Kempthorne. "The Duck Stamp program is unique in the realm between art and conservation. This art will be transformed into an equally beautiful stamp and help protect wetlands by generating funding through the sale of that stamp to hunters, stamp-collectors and conservationists. People talk about how art can change the world, and the Duck Stamp is an excellent example. You just need to look at the more than five million acres of waterfowl habitat protected by their purchase using funds from the stamp for proof of the power of this art."
Hautman's painting "chosen from among 247 entries from artists across the country" will be featured on the 2008-2009 Federal Duck Stamp, which will go on sale in June 2008. The sale of Federal Duck Stamps raises about $25 million each year to fund wetland habitat acquisition for the National Wildlife Refuge System. The Federal Duck Stamp Contest, begun in 1934, is sponsored annually by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This year's contest crowns the winner of the 75th Duck Stamp.
"This was the most exciting Duck Stamp contest in history,"said H. Dale Hall, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "To have a three-way tie for first place, then to have the artist and his family right here in the audience, was fantastic. We're going to continue to move this contest around the country to give the public a chance to own this."
The competition, co-hosted by BIG Arts, J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge and the Ding Darling Wildlife Society, was surrounded by a week of public events at the refuge and BIG Arts campus, celebrating the life of artist, conservationist and founder of the Duck Stamp " Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling.
Born in 1876 in Michigan, Darling was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for his conservation-themed cartoons. He served as Chief of the National Biological Survey, the forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, from 1934-1935. Darling's conservation legacy serves as the foundation for the broad-based support and strategic vision of North America's successful waterfowl management efforts.
All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry the current Migratory Bird Conservation and Hunting Stamp commonly known as the Duck Stamp. However, conservationists, stamp collectors and others also purchase the stamp in support of habitat conservation. Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the $15 Duck Stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports the purchase of acres of wetlands that are added to the National Wildlife Refuge System.
To date, more than $700 million in Duck Stamp funds have been used to acquire 5.2 million acres of habitat at hundreds of refuges in nearly every state in our nation. There are 548 National Wildlife Refuges spread across all 50 states and U.S.territories. A current Duck Stamp can be used for free admission to any National Wildlife Refuge open to the public. Refuges offer unparalleled recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching and photography.
Joe Hautman won the Federal Duck Stamp contest in 1992 and 2002. He also has won several state duck stamp contests. His brothers, Bob and Jim, also won previous Federal Duck Stamp contests. Hautman attended the Federal Duck Stamp contest this year with his family. The audience gave him a standing ovation when his art was chosen as the winning piece.
"I've been to a lot of Duck Stamp contests, and this is the most exciting one I've been to," Hautman said. "I'd like to thank my family and the Fish and Wildlife Service, which turns this artwork into wetlands and ducks." Hautman's winning art depicts two pintails "a male and female" nestled gracefully atop reeds in a marsh.
Second place went to Harold Roe, of Sylvania, Ohio, who painted an acrylic of a lone green-winged teal. Roe has previously placed highly in the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. Third place went to Scot Storm of Freeport, Minn., who painted a pair of mallards in acrylic. Storm's work appeared on the 2004-2005 Federal Duck Stamp.
Eligible species for this year's contest were the mallard, northern pintail, canvasback, green-winged teal and harlequin duck.
The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is the nation's only federally sponsored art competition. No cash prize is awarded, but winning can boost the professional reputation of even a previously unknown wildlife artist. Winning artists stand to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of limited editions of prints of their Duck Stamp designs.
Duck Stamps bearing this year's winning design will go on sale at post offices, National Wildlife Refuges, some national retail chain stores, and various sporting-goods stores nationwide in late June of 2008. The 2008-2009 Duck Stamp will be available at select locations in both a self-adhesive format and the traditional gummed format.
In addition, the Service recently started a three-year pilot program allowing the state fish and wildlife management agencies of Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, to sell stamps electronically through their individual automated licensing systems, providing a special receipt as proof of purchase.
The five judges for the competition were selected by the Secretary of the Interior for their dedication to conservation and professional expertise. They are:
Jim Sprankle of Sanibel Island, Florida, is one of the best-known wood sculptors of wild birds in the world and a former pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers and Cincinnati Reds.
Matt Hogan is Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Matt is an avid hunter, angler and fly-fisherman.
Jeanie Morris from Springfield, Missouriis president of the Springfield Arts Council and has studied painting with many well-known artists in both the United Statesand Europe.
Cheryl Ganz is the chief curator for Philately at the Smithsonian?s NationalPostalMuseum. She co-chaired the Winton M. Blount Symposium on Postal History and was curator of NationalPostalMuseumexhibits at the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition and the American Philatelic Society Stamp Show 2006.
Eugene Hester of Springfield, Virginia, is a former deputy director of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is an avid wildlife photographer and outdoor writer, his photographs and articles appearing in many national and state magazines, as well as books, calendars and other publications.
Alternate Judge Richard Slaughter, originally from Maryland's Eastern Shore, is the publisher of the nature and conservation-focused Attraction Magazine. He is an avid waterfowler and collector of working decoys and Federal and State Duck Stamps.
Downloadable images of the top three paintings and additional information concerning the contest is available on the Internet at http://duckstamps.fws.gov.